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elbanditoroso's avatar

Is 'serene' another word for "bored' or 'unchallenged'?

Asked by elbanditoroso (22418points) July 8th, 2014

A friend said that she was ‘serene’ in her retirement. From my view, she seems bored and aimless.

What does ‘serene’ mean to you? (I know the dictionary definition)

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26 Answers

hominid's avatar

I wonder what led you to believe that she is “bored” and “aimless”? If she doesn’t describe herself as “bored”, why would you? And is “aimless” a bad thing?

Pachy's avatar

It’s your friend’s point of view that counts, and if serene is how she says she feels (and to me, that means peaceful and content, unworried, unstressed) take her at her word.

To me serene means

janbb's avatar

Redacted. Not enough coffee!

JLeslie's avatar

Serene to me means calm and content. Not everyone feels the need to be challenged. Possibly, she is appreciating not having a lot of obligations physically or mentally. In a year she might decide she wants more interaction and to feel more nurturing, useful, or productive.

Why can’t people let others have a rest? Did she work her whole life? Did she raise a family? Maybe she is tired and happy for the rest.

filmfann's avatar

At peace. Without conflict or challenge.
I am certainly in a serene place in retirement, and I am not bored.

canidmajor's avatar

Is she “bored and aimless” in her retirement, or simply not part of the social mandate to glorify “busy”? For me, “serene” is about achieving a level of calm when I want/need to be calm, without sacrificing passion for the things I care deeply about.

Since I retired, the general concern by people is that I am not busy enough, and therefore must be bored, lonely, and unproductive. I am none of those things, I simply choose not to justify how I live to others.

I believe “serene” is about perception. My “serene” might be someone else’s “useless existence.”

28lorelei's avatar

Indeed, serene is settled, content, at peace. Boredom to me means you want to be doing something, and serene doesn’t imply that. Unchallenged somehow implies that you haven’t tried to go out and challenge yourself, and seems like it takes that in a negative light. While all of them are antithetical to words like busy, rushing etc, they have very different moods.

marinelife's avatar

Serene means calm and at peace. It sounds like she is happy, which you cannot detect from the outside.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Being serene is about being peaceful and contented. People who are bored are neither peaceful nor contented – so the answer to your question is no.

So, perhaps your assessment of her retirement is inaccurate, or perhaps she does not know the meaning of the word serene. Or, lastly, perhaps you misspoke when you said she was bored. Did you mean to say that you thought she was boring?

Being bored is something that she would feel. But if she is boring, that is describing how you feel about what she’s doing. She can’t be serene and bored at the same time, but she can be serene and boring at the same time.

jca's avatar

If she describes herself as serene, what is it to you if she’s bored or aimless or unchallenged? To me, serene means at peace, which I would think would be the ultimate way to be. She probably worked many years to earn her retirement, and she’s probably enjoying not having to wake up and rush off to work every day.

zenvelo's avatar

She may be very engaged, just not agitated about it, so she is serene. Bored implies restless with one’s present state, the opposite of serene.

cookieman's avatar

I’d like a little “serene” now and again.

jca's avatar

@cookieman: Yes, me too. Every day when I’m up and trying to get my daughter ready for school or camp, and gulping down coffee, and getting my stuff together for the day ahead, and rushing to my car and dealing with traffic and traffic jams and people cutting each other off and all that madness, and then hustling into the building, and then 8 hours later doing the reverse, I think that I would love love love some serenity!

Strauss's avatar

Serenity is definitely not a word for bored, or unchallenged. Someone who can maintain serenity in the midst of chaos has achieved the challenge of the ages. Serene implies contentment with one’s situation.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Serene is the complete opposite from bored and unchallenged.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The very fact that your friend used the word serene is a fair indication that she knows the difference between that state and bored or aimless. Are you asking us if your friend is lying to you or perhaps to herself? What would be the motive? You know her better than we ever will. What makes you suspect that she’s out to fool you?

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I think of serene in terms of water. When the Colorado river is full, and active, I think it looks angry. A creek or river moving along at a brisk but not dangerous pace, it looks joyful to me. Serene is a pool with little or no ripples, pleasant, but certainly not stagnant.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Nope. All three words have very specific and different meanings. They are even spelled differently in order to let you know that.

Serene = peaceful
Bored = experiencing ennui
Aimless = without a goal or aspiration, wandering.

See? D-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t. Not synonymous.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Serene means calm, relaxed and unstressed to me. I don’t think I’ve ever described myself as ‘serene’.

LornaLove's avatar

If it does mean that I wish I was bored and aimless.

jca's avatar

I’ll take serene, bored or aimless right about now (when I have to start my morning routine and wish I didn’t).

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I find women often feel like that and men worry about being bored or feeling underutilized. I think it is because women tend to be doing more scattered busy work. Men can focus on one thing, work, and relaxing at home. Women are working, dealing with the kids, shopping, and cooking. Certainly, some men are more involved than others with home life and kids, especially in the last 20 years, but single and divorced moms basically have the same stress as women 40 years ago when they furst started going back into the workforce, juggling everything, minus dealing with a husband, which can be less stressful a lot of the time I think.

When my mom was close to retirement my mom said, “I can’t wait to put my feet up.” My dad said to her, “I don’t want to see you just sitting around doing nothing all day in the house.” Her response, “then don’t watch.” She swims and walks everyday, still cooks for my father, and helps neighbors and sees girlfriends, so she is not just eating Mallomars on the couch, but she does whatever she wants.

hominid's avatar

@JLeslie: “Men can focus on one thing, work, and relaxing at home.”

Keep in mind that this may have been the case many years ago. But a statement like that today is simply unrecognizable. Most men and women I know who have kids can’t recall the last time they were able to “relax at home”. Both parents are working and the men (and women) are the ones doing the cooking and cleaning, and raising the children.

I think it’s important to remember history, but I think it’s just as important to recognize that things just do not exist like this any longer – at least in middle-class (and upper middle-class) Northeastern US. To a guy who has to schedule his bathroom times in Google Calendar, talk about men like this makes little sense. We all know that our fathers or grandfathers supposedly had a moment to kick up their feet once in a while. Past tense. Modern chaos for all.

hominid's avatar

^ I flagged my comment (and this one). It’s off topic. Sorry.

JLeslie's avatar

@hominid That’s basically what I said. The woman who is retired now, the woman the OP is talking about, if she had children and a husband, she more than likely did most of the household work and children oriented stuff. She is over 60 I assume.

Now, both men and women are probably over stressed and discombobulated. Women are more likely to be single moms than men are likely to be single dads. Meaning the other parents is fairly uninvolved. I am not talking about the typical middle class divorced parents where each parent has the kids 50% of the time. When I say single, I mean never married to the father, and that one parent is the primary parent in the child’s life. @jca is raising her daughter by herself.

My SIL who is 51, I will never forget she came into town when her two kids were very little (this is about 15 years ago) the kids might have been 2 and 5 years old. She came ahead of her husband, and then after a week he joined her. When he arrived her workload only got bigger. You would think another parent arriving should mean she had more help now dealing with the kids and whatever errands they wanted to get done, but no, now she had one more person to worry about and be a servant to. It still happens.

Blackberry's avatar

I do have tranquil life and I am also aimless at the moment because I’m tired of trying to reach for the stars and I like having no responsibilities lol.

I feel like I can actually relax for once and I’ve never felt better.

That’s just me, though.

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